LEATHER GOODS DESIGNER
LOCATION: ISTANBUL, TURKEY
I love to discover inspiring and ambitious young women ! Ceylan and Melis from the it-place Istanbul are behing the brand Kia Ora. Their fashion brand was designed to enrich and complete everyday distinct personal styles with exclusive and unique leather products. Inspired by modern details and classical shapes, Kia Ora provides timeless quality designs for those who are looking for that rare combination of elegance, comfort, functionality and of course impeccable style.
MEET THE MAKER INTERVIEW
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Ceylan: I had my master degree in Milan and then I had chance to work for globally known fashion brands such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Cacharel. I also gave brand consultancy for several brands while I had opportunity to manage their design and production processes. After having experience on branding and design in Milan, I continue my corporate life in Turkey. However, managing and creating for my own brand was my growing dream for so long. That's why, when I felt that I have enough experience to create a Turkish accessory brand, which I would love it to be known globally, I decided to leave my corporate life and follow my own dreams.
Melis: Born and raised in Istanbul, I carried out my education in the United States, and I graduated with a degree in International Business Management & Economics and worked in the field of consultancy at NGOs in Philadelphia. After returning to Turkey, having worked at leading magazine and PR companies, I decided to continue my career in International Marketing. I always dreamed of creating a Turkish brand that would one day be recognized internationally, so I left my corporate life and established Kia Ora. My years of experience in international management and obsession with accessories can be seen in the development of the brand.
Describe your day as a maker:
Both of our days starts with practicing yoga in different studios near our houses. Then we meet in the office and we spent most of the day together. If we are in production we visit our atelier in the morning. Then, we continue our day in our Showroom. We personally follow up Kia Ora Design's PR and social media activities. So, we personally try to answer each question/inquiry we receive from social media or press. Also, we are collaborating with many fashion and lifestyle magazines in Turkey and there are important TV series that leading actresses uses our bags. So, we daily follow product circulations. However, best part of our day is when we spend time with our customers. It's so nice to meet them in the Showroom. We love to host our visitors in our cute garden if the weather is good. At the end of the day, we both love to have a coffee or dinner with our friends or just go back home to relax. Besides, we spend one day each month to hunt leather and accessories.
When did you know you were a Maker/ Designer?
We didn't know each other during our university years, but after we met, we realized that we both share the same dream since those years, which is giving birth to a brand that is build from Turkish craftsmanship. Our journey started after we realize our common desire.
How would you describe your brand?
Kia Ora was designed to enrich and complete everyday distinct personal styles with exclusive and unique leather products. Inspired by modern details and classical shapes, Kia Ora provides timeless quality designs for those who are looking for that rare combination of elegance, comfort, functionality and of course impeccable style.
What influences your work?
We aren't blindly attached to seasonal trends. Our main influences are our own taste and daily life. We always think about different occasions that we may have during a day and try to find out what kind of a bag could better these experiences.
Where does your inspiration come from?
There are many sources of inspirations for us. After starting our designs, the way we are looking at things totally changed.We learn that what matters isn't what you look at but what you see. So, we try to get advantage of everything around us. Of course, our main inspiration is international women and the way they live their lifes.
How is the creative scene in your city compare to other cities?
Istanbul is a city full of inspiration! The rising metropol of the region. The city is visited by millions of travellers each year and it is almost impossible to get inspired every single second. The city is exceptionally rich with heritage stemming from the Ottoman Empire and the modernity. A mosaic of East and West, the creative scene is very fullfilling in Istanbul.
What’s your creative process?
We try to get an inspiration from every aspect of life. In the beginning of every season we create our own mood board, which contains all of our ideas. Then we start designing our products, drawing and writing hundereds of notes to explain the image of the woman who uses our bag. Then, the sample process get started. We make corrections till we reach the perfect bag! Meanwhile, we go and hunt the best quality leathers and accessories in the market! Then comes the production of our bags, the happiest moment of the season. Following that, we do our photo shootings and we are ready for the season!